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Tips and Hints for Professional Family Entertainers


Everyone from Churches to Zoos can hire family entertainers. The greatest number and most easily obtained, paid opportunities are still with parties and a few retail businesses; focus on these first.

 There are of course entire books about performing for other markets, such as schools, but there are either fewer of these opportunities, or they require more preparation and practice to perform.

Businesses hire you to help them literally and figuratively look good. You need to be able to safely gain the attention of potential customers and treat them well as an ambassador of the business. Grand openings and special event sales generally pay a little bit less per hour than birthday parties, but they may span several hours and may require less physical intensity.

Be careful about taking discounted long term contracts with businesses, particularly when they are spread out over a large area and several stores. It may be tempting to take the cash flow for prepaid appearances, but it's no fun to finish out a contract when the money is all gone, and you have dig deep to pay for car repairs and gasoline and salaries. Know the value of your time and energy.

Birthday parties are largest performer's market in most areas, and most children are fun to work with. We'll go into greater detail about getting the gigs and entertaining the children on subsequent pages. 

Be wary of free gigs "for publicity" of any kind except true charity work, especially parades and events that don't allow you to make a great deal of contact with people. Even if you could throw business cards to everyone in a parade, most people aren't in a frame of mind that will be conducive to remembering  the performer or the very well. 

That doesn't mean that you shouldn't ever work without guaranteed payment, but there are some activities that give you some cash flow and are also likely to result in more birthday party bookings. See the "fast cash 101" link for more information.